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How to Help Your Tripawd on Stairs

If you have a new amputee dog or cat and your home has stairs, don’t panic. There are simple ways to help your Tripawd on stairs.

How to Help Your Tripawd on Stairs

Front-leg and rear leg amputee dogs and cats both have challenges when it comes to using indoor or outdoor stairs. During the early days of recovery it’s best to block any stairs inside or outside of your home.

Tripawd on stairs
Keep Tripawds away from stairs during recovery.

Consider installing pet gates for amputation recovery to keep your pet safe and away from staircases.

Try to keep your cat confined to a stair-free area of your home until they are strong enough to do stairs (usually when stitches come out).

Front Leg Tripawd Dogs and Cats on Stairs

Once stitches are out, take things slow. Front leg amputee pets may discover that going down stairs is scarier than going up. They carry more weight on their front ends, which makes them extra cautious about descending.

Good thing you can do a few things to help a front leg Tripawd down stairs.

Jerry had to use 18 uncarpeted stairs whenever he wanted to go outside. We weren’t going to take chances on him falling, so he wore his Ruffwear Webmaster harness all day.

By keeping one hand on the handle of a recommended Tripawd dog harness, we kept him safe.

Rear Leg Tripawd Dogs and Cats on Stairs

When we adopted Tripawds Spokesdog Wyatt Ray, we learned that going up stairs is harder for rear-leg amputee pets. Cats and dogs both have powerful leg muscles and one less rear leg makes it harder to climb stairs and jump.

Carpeted Versus Un-Carpeted Slippery Stairs in a Home

If you just have one or two steps in your home, amputee pets should be able to handle them just fine. Just make sure to add traction to your stairs if they are not carpeted.

Most dogs and cats can handle stairs with carpet. But, if your home has hardwood or slippery stairs, it’s safest to keep your Tripawd away from stairs indefinitely if you have an amputee dog. If that’s not an option, you can make them safer with a product like Puppy Treads, or staircase carpet runners.

You can see how this front leg amputee dog is hesitating on slippery stairs.

As for cats, well, we aren’t sure anyone has been able to keep a feline away from stairs after recovery. Just see how Purrkins the Tripawd cat tackles stairs.

Tripawd cats generally do better on stairs than Tripawd dogs. Sssh, don’t tell the canines in our community!

Have you found a unique way to help your amputee dog or cat with stairs? If so we want to know about it! Be sure to comment below.

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7 thoughts on “How to Help Your Tripawd on Stairs”

  1. Hi – we do just what you did! We have Thunder’s harness handy for going up and down stairs. If there is a misstep we are right there to help him out.

  2. I adopted a rear leg amputee (pit bull/French bull dog mix) (deep, deep chest and skinny rear) who is now about a year and a half. She was in a house with only one story and doesn’t know stairs at all. I am wondering if anyone has had a similar situation and is it worth it to try to teach her. She sleeps downstairs with one of my others and doesn’t seem the least bit interested in coming up.

  3. I have a question about Jerry, the beautiful German Shepherd who is shown going up and down the stairs. How old was he when became a tripod? How long did it take for him to learn to walk by himself after the surgery? How long did it take for him to figure out how to handle the stairs? The video of him was amazing and gives me so much hope for my Saint Bernard, Lady, who also lost a front leg, that she will be able to eventually get around easily like Jerry.

    • Please read all about Jerry here.

      Jerry came bouncing out of the hospital, immediately walking on his own. We attempted to carry and help him on the stairs for only a few days before he insisted on doing them on his own. A DIY Tripawd sling is helpful and easily made from a canvas shopping bag for additional support as stitches heal. After that Jerry always wore his Web Master harness.

      Every dog is different. And larger breeds will tend to take longer to recover and build strength. Please consider consulting with a certified rehab therapist for evaluation and specific conditioning exercises to keep Lady fit and strong. Visit a CCRT or CCRP and the Tripawds Foundation can even pay for your first visit!

  4. Hi,
    Adore just had her first round of chemo today. The Dr. said she looked great. All of her blood work was good. I did find out something interesting from her(the oncologist) she said to stop giving Adore tramadol. She said that was doing nothing but sedating her. She did leave her on the Galaprant and Gabapentin. She doesn’t think she’s in any pain, she said since she’s a senior lady and is arthritic she wants to keep her comfortable since it’s only been 3 weeks since her amputation. I was just
    wanting to ask anyone out there that have rear amputees how long it took for their dog to get really strong? Adore is a 90 lb. Rottweiler so I know she has alot to carry on her front legs and one of them is
    arthritic. We were going to a therapist before we found
    out she had the C word. She was doing the laser, the underwater treadmill and we had also tried acupuncture.
    I know it is going to take time but I have myself having so much anxiety(I already take medication for that and
    panic attacks) and not even wanting to eat. I have 3
    other dogs and all’s I can focus on is my sweetheart
    Adore. And she has already came back to her funny,
    goofy, stubborn Rottweiler ways. I am just so
    paranoid about every little thing. Did anyone else feel
    this way? I am so glad the oncologist is so nice because
    I have written her emails that are more like letters.
    She gets back to me within a few hours and answers all
    of my questions. Chemo is very expensive. You also have to have their blood checked every week and chest x-rays
    every month. But I would give up everything I own for
    these 4 dogs. They are my people, my best friends.
    They are here for me 24/7. They know when I’m going
    to have a panic attack and they are all right by my side.
    I have had a bond with animals all of my life. They are
    what have helped me get through this hard thing called
    life. I pray to God and thank him for sharing his
    animals with me. I know he will let Adore be with me for
    along time. That time may be 1-2 more years, it may be 5 more years or he may call her home soon. Alls I can
    do is whatever I can for her to have the best quality of
    life. And right now I think she does.

    • Tina, it sure sounds like Adore has all the right team members in place to get her strong again. All dogs are different in how quickly they return to the “new normal,” so don’t compare her to others OK? She is her own girl. Three weeks is not a long time, and if you get her back to rehab therapy she can get there faster. And please do hop over to our Discussion Forums’ Hopping Around Topic, where lots of people are waiting to offer insight about their own dog’s mobility. See you there!


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